Scuffing the pavement, I tossed more rocks into my father’s garden. I kept an eye on the street. I’d see a car turn the corner in the distance – glint of a chrome bumper — sure I saw legs. A small girl coming towards me.
There it was — that fluttery feeling – rising, falling in my stomach. The arc of heat flushing around my ears. I was certain she’d come to my house. She said she would. We’d play, and maybe eat brownies. I met her that day on the playground. She’d come over. A girl!
And I waited, my eyes on the disappearing road. It was like waiting for Christmas, for the last bell of the school year, for cookies. For the Braves game on Saturday. Waiting until you can’t sit still.
And then there she is – how long did I wait? — reaching for her martini, and my mouth is open, not literally but I’m listening, watching, trying not to look at her cleavage. We talk and swerve and do the eye dance. Here’s a woman but suddenly she’s Catherine Johns from 2nd grade and we’re playing tetherball and I don’t even notice her ass because we’re both only 9 and asses don’t even exist yet, except we’re drinking and both divorced and there are five kids with us so we can’t say too much so it’s just back and forth, easy, back and forth and she knows she’s beautiful, and she’s seen the world, too, but maybe she likes that I’m not looking at that, I’m just looking at her eyes — no, looking beyond her eyes and into some other place that’s from long ago, girlish, sweet – stripped of the angles, the data mounds and schedules, the patter of patter on sidewalks, concrete mazes – worries – postures —
and I take that and put it there, next to the napkin, sideways from her breasts which I am not looking at (ok, maybe once) but we are complicated with boyfriends and girlfriends and isn’t there a way we can just play? Without immediately lighting candles and having sexy bathtubs and foot massages and fragrant poetry?
There’s a Keds innocence that’s always walking towards each other, some simple fascination with the other –how fast we can run to there, or there, landing with a breathless laughing — laughing just because everything else resounds, bell-like, in the autumn air. There’s no sex and no tomorrow and we’re just having dinner surrounded by the noise of new childhoods and yes, please email me back — I’m just wondering — did you get mine? — please, I’m waiting for you to walk around that corner and show up at my house, finally, so we can eat the brownies.